Friday, May 29, 2009

An Excited Thank You

I wanted to send out a big, warm thank you to Rhoda at Southern Hospitality this morning. Yesterday she hosted the Crazy for Burlap Party that I participated in. I was amazed at all of the uses that creative people found to do with the stuff. If you missed it you can still get some ideas. Rhoda posted highlights from the party on her blog today. Guess who almost fell out of her chair with excitement when she saw the picture of her bathroom on there? :0)

So, thanks Rhoda, for a great party and for adding my shade to your highlights!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Bathroom On The Cheap

Today I thought I'd share with you one of my most favorite rooms in my house, so far. But first, let me give you a little back history. When MW and I were looking for a house to buy upon returning to Indiana after nine years in Florida - well, let's just say it was not a quick nor easy process. I'll save the details for another day. Anyhoo, we learned our lesson financially (the hard way) early on in our marriage and decided that we didn't want to be strapped to a huge house payment this time around. We decided to buy a home where the payment left us plenty of breathing room each month and we could fix it up with cash as we went along. So, we settled on a cute little repo. It had great bones, but had suffered severe neglect. The carpet was trashed and the furnace quit working immediately, along with the whole onslaught of things that you deal with when you buy a repo. Thus began our journey of making this little house a home on a shoestring budget.

This is what our bathroom looked like when we bought it. Notice the nasty carpet, broken mirror on the medicine cabinet, mildew on the top of the wall, and that brick. A friend said that going into my bathroom felt like walking into an alley. The brick was broken and not applied in a decent manner. And it was beyond filthy. I spent 7 hours with a toothbrush just trying to get the crud off of it. My hand looked like a claw for days.

The first thing we did was strip off that awful wallpaper and border, Kilz everything and paint it out white. Even the brick got a fresh coat of white paint. It was all of the same paint that we used to paint the rest of the house upon moving in - so I don't really count that as an added cost.

The foul carpet was ripped up and replaced with vinyl peel and stick tiles from Lowes. The tile runs less than a dollar per square foot. I don't remember how much it cost us, but I don't think it was very much because our bathroom is so tiny. You can close the door from the toilet, which is at the opposite end of the room - if that helps you get an idea of what we're talking about here. :0)

My favorite part - and the reason I'm linking to the Frugal Decorating Ideas Party at The Shabby Nest today - is what I used to wallpaper the top of the wall above the bricks. Here's the equation I used to decide what to wallpaper with: music lover + wanting to have something unique + being cheap frugal = wallpaper from a hymnal. I had 3 old hymnals in my book stash, so I tore some of the pages out of one of them, bought a container of wallpaper paste for $5 (I still have a ton of it left) and went to town. When I was finished with it, I gave it a coat of the same polyurethane that we sealed our painted floors with to protect the paper from the bathroom humidity. It worked like a charm.

This picture was taken before it was sealed with polyurethane. You can see here where a little edge of paper is raised. Once it was sealed, it layed right down.

The final major thing that the bathroom needed was a shower curtain and shade for the window. I posted about making these out of burlap yesterday. I was able to buy enough fabric (6 1/2 yds.) to make both of these items for $15 using my 40% off coupon from JoAnn Fabric.

The last thing I need to do is paint out the rest of the wood surfaces white and it will be complete. Since I still have the paint for that, it won't cost me anything except labor.

All in all, for less than $100 I was able to transform this little bathroom from back alley to beautiful (with the help of MW laying the floors and ripping out detestable carpet). And most of the budget went into flooring. It's now one of my most favorite rooms ever.

Want to see it one last time?

This was before. This is now (almost complete).

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my little bathroom. Check out The Shabby Nest for more frugal decorating ideas.

Have a great weekend!

It's A Burlap Party!

Well, I finally got my projects done for the burlap party - about 15 minutes ago. Nothing like getting right down to wire before finishing it. But, it just wouldn't be like me if I did it any other way. I sorta got hung up on figuring out how to do one part of it. I'll explain later. Would you like to see what I made?

Drum roll, please.....

Ta Da!

I finally got around to making a shade for the window and a shower curtain for our teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy bathroom. It's spent the past 15 months since we've lived here just as naked as a jaybird.

The shade even works. Impressive, huh? Yeah, I'm sure you're just 'oooh-ing and aaah-ing' right now wondering how someone could go through life with such undiscovered talent. This is where you can gag if you must.

For real, though. I really like it. The burlap was a breeze to work with except for the part where I had to try to figure out how to make button holes 'cause I'm too cheap to buy grommets. My sewing machine is supposed to make automatic button holes. It has a special presser foot and everything. I never could figure the darn thing out. The manual that came with my machine had instructions in 4 languages and I couldn't comprehend a single one of them. They should make sewing machine manuals in the "For Dummies" series. I ended up googling how to do it, and thank God, I came across a video clip. I was bright enough to make a practice strip to try them out with first. Even with that, it took me a really long time to make those boogers. I started to really get the hang of it when I had 2 or 3 button holes left to make.

Originally, I was going to make my shade and shower curtain out of ivory/black toile. I so love anything toile. It gives me warm fuzzies just thinking about it. But, since the weather is heating up I kind of feel like I don't want anything visually heavy in there. I love how the burlap still lets light filter in the window while providing much needed privacy. I might decide to make a toile set for winter some year. We'll have to see. But, for now, I'm digging the burlap. It let's my "hymnal" wallpaper be the star. (I'll post more on that later.) I still need to paint out the wood surfaces. Once they are white like the rest of the woodwork in there it will be perfect (for me).

So, did you join the party? Would you like to see what other creative ways people used burlap? Then follow me on over to Southern Hospitality and let's see if we just can't get some more organic inspiration for this awesome fabric!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Another Awesome Give Away!

Y'all feel like winning something really pretty? Me too. Everything Etsy is giving away one of Kimba's lovely brooches to two lucky winners on May 29th! Head on over to Everything Etsy to enter.

If you're in the mood for some great decorating/DIY inspiration then check out Kimba's blog, A Soft Place To Land. You won't be disappointed!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I'm Gonna Miss This

I'm feeling a bit emotional today. This is the reason why.

My baby, my one and only son that I love, is growing up - WAY TOO FAST. He mowed the lawn today - all by himself for the first time. MW let Little Britches help him some with it last year, but he had to walk right with him because he still couldn't handle the mower up an incline by himself. That's not a problem this year. You should have seen the smile Little Britches wore while he was man-handling that mowing machine. There was such a sense of pride and accomplishment on his face.

Little Britches is eight. He'll be nine this summer. It seems like just yesterday that we were re-doing that nursery fit for a princess! (We were told we were having a girl. SURPRISE!) Part of me is so proud and excited at how he is growing up. Getting to sleep through the night, not have to take half the house in a diaper bag when we leave, toting strollers around and not changing poopy diapers anymore helps, too. Actually, just getting to go and enjoy places is a wonderful perk of him growing up. He was NOT an easy baby. He comes from a long line of babies that didn't sleep at night. Honest to God, he was six before he slept all night long. We couldn't get that kid on schedule no matter what we did. He was a homebody from the time we brought him home from the hospital. If we tried to go anywhere he would scream something awful. And I'm not talking as a toddler, either. I mean from the time he was a tiny infant this would go on. And, oh, how he loved music! But it had to be really hyped up, fast music. You know how you put on lullabies to soothe most children to sleep? Not Little Britches. It was the extremely up-tempo rockin' songs that calmed him down. When he was five months old we were going to drive around and look at Christmas lights. I brought our Kenny G Christmas CD to play on the drive. The moment I turned off the other music and put that CD in - he began to scream. He wanted to listen to Bob Dylan sing "Saved". Remember, he was five months old. So, we experimented. It didn't matter what song was on - if it wasn't "Saved", he was screaming. The second we'd put that song back on he'd quiet right down. Can you guess what we listened to as drove around looking at Christmas lights that first holiday as parents? That was the only song we listened to for at least five months. I promise you - that's not an exaggeration. But...

Little Britches was also pure joy! Oh, he was happy. And laugh...honest to God he would laugh from the time he was born. My mom commented on it when her and my dad came down when we brought him home from the hospital. I simply told her, "His name means 'laughter' after all." And he was always so affectionate - a real lover. He still is.

We knew that after the ordeal we had getting him here that he would be our only child. So we decided from the get-go that we were going to savor every minute of every stage of his life. And we have. I'm so thankful for that. My sister-in-law made a suggestion when he was born that I buy a journal and keep a record of all the mile stones in his life or funny or sweet things that he said growing up. I'm glad I took her advise. Sometimes I'll get it out and read through it. It's amazing how many things I had forgotten until I read it in those pages - things I just knew I'd never forget. Some of the stages he's been through I was happier to see go than others. I have just always tried to keep in mind that it's all part of the growing up process. Trace Adkins has a song, "You're Gonna Miss This". If you're not familiar with it, it talks about all the phases in life that we don't enjoy and want to hurry through and how one day we'll look back and miss it. It's so true.

So, as I write this today, I feel just a little emotional. I'm so proud to watch my baby develop into a little man. But part of me misses that infant that I rocked so many nights. Or the toddler that was absolutely hilarious and I watched learn to walk and feed himself. And the little guy learning to tie his shoes and write his name. So, I'm just gonna sit back and watch him grow and learn new things - start spreading his wings a little wider. I'm gonna savor it and try to soak in every second of this season of his life because I know that one day I'll look back on today and 'I'm gonna miss this'.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

PLEASE, Say It Ain't So!!

Look what I got in the mail yesterday. And let me just tell you that it wasn't anything like the last thing that came for me and I shared with you. I wasn't happy about it. AT. ALL. And, quite frankly, I was pretty near panic stricken.

WHAT?! JoAnn Fabrics is closing?! All of them? Or, just mine? Oh, it doesn't matter - either is a tragedy! Please, say it ain't so! These are all of the questions that began to bombard my gray matter. I became woosy and the room started to spin. I needed a paper sack for breathing purposes. I had to sit down with my head between my legs. Not really, but play along will ya? I don't think that I could even get my head between my legs. That would probably make me pass out fo' sho'. But, I was confused and upset for real.

You see, I've wanted to learn to sew for a REALLY long time. I FINALLY have begun to take classes and move in the direction of "Domestic Diva" and JoAnn and I have become tight. Really tight. If she left me - Oh, Lord. I don't even want to think about it. I would only have Hobby Lobby left. Don't get me wrong - I love Hobby Lobby. But...they don't have quite the fabric selection that JoAnn has. And they don't have Coupon Commotion, either. I was once able to use 5 (40%-50% off) coupons at JoAnn's at once during Coupon Commotion Week. That was a huge savings. So, to receive this flyer in the mail; not good. I live exactly in the center of nowhere. I have no Hancock Fabrics. Walmart quit carrying fabric. All I have left is Hobby Lobby. Also, the place where Grandma Ginger gives me sewing lessons. But, they are a quilt shop. They don't carry burlap. They don't carry home decorator fabrics. They don't even carry clothing weight fabric. They simply carry a ga-freakin'-billion bolts of quilting material. It's a quilter's dream. I am not a quilter.

Am I just naive? I would have thought that in this economy more people would start crafting/sewing again. The place that I take lessons from told me that they have had an influx of people wanting to take classes every since things have become so economically unstable. I thought that of all the businesses that would be immune and possibly benefit from a recession - grocery stores and fabric/craft/DIY stores would be at the top of the list. But then I get this flyer.

In my flustered state, I did what anyone in search of answers would do. I googled. That only confused me more. I couldn't find anything concrete. I HAD to get to the bottom of this. I put on my detective cap, found the store locator, pulled up the phone number for my local JoAnn Fabric and dialed the number.

Riiiing. Riiiing.

Store Guy: "Thank you for calling JoAnn Fabric. This is _____. How may I help you today?"
Panicky Patron (me): "Hi, yeah. Are you closing?"
Store Guy: "No. We'll be open until 9 o'clock tonight."
Me: "I mean - are you closing your store down? Is your store going out of business?"
Store Guy: "No. We are NEVER closing. And I wish I knew who was starting this crazy rumor."
Me: "Well, I got a flyer in the mail today." And then I proceed to read it to him.
Store Guy: "That may be for the _____ store. They are closing down. But they are building a bigger one across the street and will have a Grand Opening for it soon. But, WE are never closing. Not unless they decide to do the same thing here and build a bigger one."
Me: "Thank God! I sure wish they would have clarified that on the flyer, though."

Obviously, I wasn't the only one who misinterpreted that non-specific flyer that the company sent out, because Store Guy wanted to know who was spreading that crazy rumor. Try looking into your marketing department, Sir! Needless to say, I was a happy camper when I got off of the phone - almost euphoric. Me and JoAnn are gonna be tight for a long, long time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It About Drove Me "Batting"

Alas, I can say that my sofa pillows are done! Of course, it wasn't without a few glitches. Remember whose blog you're reading.

I wanted to make some throw pillows for the couch in the same toile fabric that my living room curtains and kitchen shades are made out of. So, I bought this beautiful silk cording to pipe them with. I measured and then added extra "just because". Just because I'm still a sewing newbie and didn't want to take any chances. I realized once I got making the first pillow that my gorgeous piping was a pain in the patootie to work with because once you cut the stuff it wanted to untwist itself about an inch at each end. Thank God, I figured out how to make it work and the pillow was finished beautifully. Well, at least by my 'not shooting for perfection' standard, anyhow.

On to pillow #2. Yay! Or so I thought. Evidently, when you sew cording on a pillow it scrunches itself up and you use more than you apparently measured for. "How do you know this, Pam?" I'm glad you asked. Take a look.

AAAAAAAHHHHHH! I scream. Yes, this would happen to me. Thank God I married a man who likes to come up with solutions to problems, because I sure as heck didn't want to take my stitch ripper and begin the extremely tedious job of taking all of that blasted beautiful cording off and then have to wait to finish this pillow that I am finally motivated to make until I have the time to drive the 40 minutes it takes me to get to the fabric store. Whew! Was that a run-on sentence, or what? MW asked if there was any way that I could just pull the two ends together and make it work. So, I pleated it. It's at the bottom of the pillow and no one is going to know about it (except you). Remember, I wasn't shooting for perfection. I think they look pretty darn good sitting on my couch, though.

While I was at JoAnn Fabric on Friday I found a remnant of black and white gingham material on clearance for $.50. It was only 14" long, but I figured I could probably squeeze a couple of smallish pillows out of it. I also found a pack of 32 iron-on numbers on clearance for $.50 while I was there. Maybe I can get the two clearance items to work together?
Maybe not. I couldn't get the iron-on to stay down, hard as I tried. And, believe me, I tried. You should have seen me trying to peel evey last bit of black number off of my pillow cases.

On to plan #2. The gingham really needed something. I didn't bother to even make cording for these pillows because they were going to be a really quick project. Yeah, right. I found a lady bug stamp in my stash and some red fabric paint. Maybe a little red lady bug in the corner?
Maybe not. It kind of got lost in all the gingham.

Third time was a charm. I ended up pulling some white felt out of my fabric and sketching a fat, little bird to cut out of the felt. I applied them over the little lady bugs with Fabri Tac and gave them each a little red eye with a needle and thread. They're not alcoholic birds, they're albino. Plus, they match my house that way. I had an albino dog once. Not that you care. I'm just sayin'.
Anyhoo, I'm done making pillows for a while. Gee, it only took me days and about drove me "batting" (Sorry, couldn't resist the corny humor.), but they are done. Finished. Finito. (Is that even a word?) I'm not sure if their home will be the couch:
or the chairs. What do you think?
Now, I'm ready to start on my project for the burlap party.

Have a great "Hump Day"!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Are You Ready To Par-tay?

Hey y'all! You up for a party? Rhoda over at Southern Hospitality is hosting a "Crazy for Burlap" party on Thursday, May 28. If you have burlap in any of your projects or if you are planning on using burlap for any upcoming projects - then snap to it! Get 'em done! Take some pictures! Join the party! Or...maybe your thinking, "Crazy people! What in the heck would you use burlap for besides potato sack races?" Well, let me just tell ya, you'd be surprised. Come on over and check it out.

I had actually just bought some burlap on Friday for a project that's been a long time comin'. I'm not telling what it's for, though. You'll have to come to the party if you want to find out!

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Come See What Came For Me!

Look, look, look! I want to show you something. Something that Fed Ex brought me yesterday. Something I've been really excited about. Are you ready?

MY PLATTER! Yay! Ain't it perty?

This is the platter I won in Nester's give away. It's from DaySpring's new "Life" collection. It has one of my favorite verses on it, John 10:10. And then all of the other words that you probably don't recognize unless you're multilingual, are the word "life" in different languages. I didn't see Pig Latin on there anywhere, just in case you're wondering.

I am still deciding where it's permanent home will be. I think it will end up in my bedroom, though.

So, Nester, (in case there is some chance that you would read this) thank you for a great give away. I love my new platter.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens

This past Saturday my family and I headed off for a fun-filled day at the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. The sun was shining. The temperature was comfortable. There was a gentle breeze. And the fact that it was Mother's Day weekend AND the weekend for the Indy 500 may have been contributing factors as to why the place wasn't busting at the seams. We have also realized through our past couple of trips that if we arrive at opening time we'll have several hours before the crowds really start to roll in.

Check out the swarming crowd. I jest, people. I jest.

Little Britches rode his first roller coaster. Yes, at the zoo.

He got to pet some sharks. We're not talkin' Jaws here y'all. What kind of a mother do you think I am?

We saw lions. And tigers. And bears. Oh, my!

Once we had explored everything there was to see at the zoo, we headed next door to White River Gardens. It was absolutely beautiful - and most of it wasn't even in bloom, yet! There are many different types of gardens there from the formal English garden to shade gardens, water gardens...There is even a Wedding Garden where people can get married or renew their vows. I would love to go back this summer when it is in full bloom.

This trip to the Indianapolis Zoo was much, much better than the last time when we went to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida and I was attacked by a Satanic bird. Thank God! No drama is just fine with me! All in all, I had a magnificent Mother's Day weekend. I hope you did, too.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Christmas in May at Goodwill

Just a quick post today. I wanted to share my exciting Goodwill find from this weekend. I have always wanted Christmas dishes, but wanted to wait until we were settled. You know, not wanting to move any more than we possible had to.

Look what I found Friday at Goodwill. AND...they were 1/2 off! Whoo Hoo!! I bought all 36 pieces for less than $10.00. The red poinsettias will go fabulously with all of the red in my house.

There were 12 salad plates, 8 cups and saucers, 4 salad bowls and 4 dinner plates. I wish there had been 8 of those as well, but I have plenty of white and cream dishes that I can probably mix and match with.

The print is "Poinsettia" by Totally Today. I tried googling to find out more about the company and approximately how old they are to no avail.

If any of you are familiar with this pattern and can clue me in to the age or a good website to find it - please, don't hesitate to leave me a comment and let me know.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

These are the guys in my life responsible for making me a mother. I couldn't have the little guy call me "Momma" without the big guy first calling me "Baby". Aren't they handsome?

This is the woman responsible for making the man who is responsible for making me a mother. I'm very blessed to have her in my life. I hear horror stories about mothers-in-law. When I married my husband, I got a second Mom. This one's for you, Mom #2.

Star Mother-In-Law
Some mother-in-laws are possessive;

Their child they still want to own.
My mother-in-law’s love is like sunlight;
On both of us it shone.
Some mother-in-laws put you down;

They think you’re not good enough.
My mother-in-law shows approval,
Affection, and other good stuff.
Some mother-in-laws interfere;

They think that they know best.
My mother-in-law lets us be;
She’s better than the rest.
And so I just want to thank you

For being who you are;
You’ve made everything so easy;
As a mother-in-law, you’re a star!
By Joanna Fuchs

This is the woman responsible for making me. I wouldn't even be here without her. Although, she did have a little help from Dad. There were always lots of giggles in our house growing up. Lots of estrogen with Mom, me and my sister. Even the dog was a female. I remember times that the three of us would be tickled about something and laughing so hard that Dad would come in from the garage with a confused look on his face wanting to know "What in the world was going on?". He usually left with the same confused look. I also remember times at the dinner table when Mom would say something silly, causing me to spew Pepsi out my nose. Don't try that at home - it's not good for the sinuses. If you really must flush your sinuses, use a netti pot instead. I'm just sayin'. We still have lots of giggles when we're all together, which isn't as much as used to be since I up and left the state and all. Thanks, Mom, for all the laughs.

This is the woman responsible for making the woman who is responsible for making me. I suppose that I wouldn't be here without her either. Although, she did have a little help from Papaw. Granny had a remedy for everything in life that ailed you. It usually consisted of black salve or peppermints. Although I was raised in Michigan, my family's blood is firmly rooted in the south. Because of this, Granny had some great one-liners. "Why, he's as brazen as a brass monkey!" Don't even ask what it meant. "Once the pie's been sliced - ain't nobody gonna miss a piece." We took her to the pharmacy to pick up her "subscriptions".

I love this picture of Granny and my son. It was the last time she saw him before she died. Can't you just see her drinking him in? As a woman who lived through the Great Depression, a miscarriage, the still-birth of her twin daughters and the death of one of her twin sons, she had an understanding of what the important things in life are. I often find myself wishing that I would have been able to know her more as an adult. You think about things when you have a family that never cross your mind before that.

This is the woman responsible for making the man who is responsible for marrying the woman who is responsible for making me. I suppose I wouldn't be here without her either. Although, she did have a little help from Papaw Shepherd. She never saw my son. Heck, she never even saw my sister. But, I have the most wonderful memories of her even though I was five when she died and we didn't even live in the same state. She lived in the mountains of West Virginia. I always wanted to live in the mountains because of our visits there. I still daydream of living in the mountains one day.
Mawmaw Shepherd was responsible for my first sentence at 10 months old: "You mean to me.". That's what I told my mom when we got home after one of those heavenly visits to the "Mountain State". She was a wonderful seamstress. When she was dying of cancer and bedridden, the family hooked up a doorbell by her bedside so she could ring it when she needed something. She used to let me ring that doorbell and freak out the family members. She didn't care as long as I was having a good time.
I'm thankful for all the "mothers" in my life. I'm also thankful that I have joined the ranks of those women. I believe it to be the most rewarding (and at times, challenging) of life's privileges. I'm also thankful for the men in my life who are the reason I can celebrate today. I love you guys!

So, today, I wish all of you mothers out there a Happy Mother's Day. Celebrate it. Enjoy it. Be thankful for the gift of Motherhood!

The house is untidy from window to door,
Marks on the walls and food on the floor.
The washing's unwashed and the dishes are too,
There's scum in the bathroom and fat on the stew.
There are toys in the passage and under our feet.
The garden's a jungle when seen from the street.
So what have I done, then to earn my repose?
To just look around me you'd say no-one knows!
I've held a small hand as her first steps she took.
I've made animal noises as we read a book.
I've built a mud pie and admired a snail.
I've rescued the cat from a grip on her tail.
I've wiped away tears, and I've listened to tales.
I've used mediation to get smiles from wails.
So I guess what I've done isn't easy to see -
It won't clean the house and it won't cook the tea.
But if I have helped make a child feel good,
know that she's loved and that she's understood,
then I know that my work,though not easy to see,
is just as important as any could be.
~~ Author Unknown ~~

Happy Mother's Day!